Ashes 100-1 Countdown: 26 Days Until the Ashes
David Green aka The Reverse Sweep starts picking his all time Ashes XI from the all time England Ashes XI and all time Australia Ashes XI.
We’ve already showed our hand by selecting Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe as the openers in our All-time England Ashes XI. Quite simply the pair formed the best opening partnership in the history of test cricket.
In 1926, with the series 0-0, the final test at The Oval would be timeless, which meant that whatever happened there would be a positive result. England had lost the last three Ashes 5-0, 3-0 and 4-1 and hadn’t won a series since before the Great War, so much was at stake.
England drafted in Percy Chapman as skipper and having won the toss made 280 in their first innings (Sutcliffe 76, Hobbs 37 and Chapman 49) with Arthur Mailey taking six for 138. Australia then eked out a 22 run lead after recovering from 122 for six.
Hobbs and Sutcliffe made steady progress to close the day on 49 without loss, but heavy rain overnight and the following day meant that the uncovered pitch turned into a treacherous sticky wicket. England were only 27 runs ahead and if they failed to prevent a collapse, then most of the demons would have probably left the pitch by the time Australia came to chase. And that would mean the Ashes would be lost again.
But Hobbs and Sutcliffe had other ideas. With great skill and immense valour they grew their opening partnership to 172 before Hobbs was out for exactly 100. Sutcliffe went on to make 161 and England 436.
By the time that Australia finally started their second innings, further rain had fallen and they had no hope of getting the 415 they needed to retain the Ashes. Wilfred Rhodes and Harold Larwood took seven wickets between them, but it was Hobbs and Sutcliffe who were the heroes of the hour.
Hobbs and Sutcliffe shared 11 century partnerships for the first wicket in Tests against Australia, but this was undoubtedly the finest. Even more so when they repeated the trick on another stickywicket at Melbourne in 1928/29 in adding 106 as England chased down 332 to win. Sutcliffe again scored a brave and matchwinning hundred.
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